Well it is India!

I have read of the newcomer’s potential exasperation when trying to get anything done in India resulting eventually in the expression “well it is India”, so I have kept a large reserve of patience in case things begin to take their time. The first cup of tea for instance that took ninety minutes to appear. Today, being the last full day of my hotel reservation period, is the day I set about planning the next phase, a houseboat overnight in the backwaters. I had been checking out the many many boat ticket offices as I walked about town so headed to my first choice, A Fair Trade Boutique, and found them to be most obliging. The price seemed right, about half that of some other places I had looked at, they took plastic, but could I come back later after the boat Captain returned their phone call. Sure, no problem, I will go and find a domestic SIM card for my phone, they told me where to go.
Found a booth type shop manned by gentleman who feigned no English, but I caught him muttering understandably, and the we got to business. Oh no, not just any foreigner can buy a SIM card, you must have passport photo and permission. Really ? Ok, I left my photos at the hotel, but spotted a passport photo taking booth across the street. Be right back says I. A certain amount of dithering, pondering and decision making took place and then they took the photo. More of same and then they printed it, four photos, one dollar. Back to phone person armed with required photo. He produced a massive form and stuck my photo to it. I quailed, form filling not my strong point, but persevered to his satisfaction and then he wanted my passport. How difficult, how humiliating, how embarrassing, but I retrieved it from my document/money belt buried three layers deep upon my person, right there on the street. Nobody seemed to mind. So on it went. Another form appeared, he filled it in and faxed it, somewhere, then told me to return in half an hour, go have a juice says he. Ok fine, it was getting hotter and hotter. Juiced, I returned. He seemed pleased. Not me, no no sir, that is not a micro SIM that I need, do you have a clipper. No, no clipper and he produces a razor blade and sets about the SIM with that. On and on. I returned to juice bar and he came too, still trimming the SIM. Then we had to find a paper clip to eject current SIM from my phone. OH. Of course it didn’t fit, more trimming with blade until yes, it now fits. Great, back to phone booth with SIM installed but no signal. On and on, hotter and hotter. We are two hours into this by now. More calling, dialing, pin # entering, finally my phone chirped. Let me outa here. Thanking him as graciously as possible I ran away. To the Post Office!
I will cut this short. You must wrap your package to Seattle sir. Hmm. Ok. See sign in clothing shop that says package wrapping. Please wrap this for me, oh yes. A custom made linen wrap is created, my package goes in and the whole thing sealed with wax. One dollar. Back to Post Office, lady takes package, and money , no customs forms, no nothing. Will it ever arrive on East Thomas, only Nat and Erin will know.
Back to the beginning, to the boat booking and ticketing office. Everything was done and they will pick me up at 10.00am tomorrow.
Well it is India.

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Lots of kind comments about the nets so here is another. Interesting to see the old and the new.

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7 responses to “Well it is India!

  1. Hahaha! You must let us know if the parcel arrives! Razor blade and SIM card, good grief!

  2. What a saga over SIM card.Hope Nat and Erin get the parcel. I loved the photos of the nets too.How long do they leave them before they check for a catch and what is the most popular catch?
    Thought about you yesterday when we saw The Exotic Marigold Hotel. Super film and hilariously funny.Marvellous scenes of India.Noisy,colourful and congested,but wonderful scenery.
    Lol
    Mother

  3. I check in every day to see what you’re up to. Like your writing style Tim. Understated and very English ….
    The houseboat sounds promising.

  4. Tim! Amazing! I just finished reading the past week and more. Fantastic wow! I feel right there like I’m tasting everything, feeling the heat, experiencing the hilariousness. Way to keep it so chill – isn’t it so cool to have patience stored up!? I have noticed when traveling it comes and goes though too lol. I have fallen so in love with your writing. Yeah! That last thing you said about the sounds calling people to prayer… I can feel that… Gorgeous…. Hope to talk to you soon! 🙂 luv Sara

  5. Luv Sara in law

  6. Waiting with baited breath for the package to arrive and will write as soon as we see any sign of a linen and wax ball here at East Thomas Street!

    Much Much love,

    Nat

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